I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, the heart of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (a.k.a., Mormonism or LDS). Not only do I live in Salt Lake, but I'm also the pastor of an evangelical church in Salt Lake. As a pastor, I teach people what the Bible says and sometimes that comes in conflict with what the predominant faith group of Utah believes. When this happens, I'm often called "anti-Mormon" by those who hold to LDS theology.
In our day, using the word "anti" is loaded. It might be a way of saying what one hates, but it's also used to create a victim identity. Just the mere act of drawing a contrast had elicited a victim response, and perceived victims press the hot-iron brand to my flesh. "Anti-Mormon," I'm called.
I don't agree with or believe the LDS doctrine, but "anti" used this way blasts me as unfair or mean. I find this response one-sided and ill-informed given the example I see in Joseph Smith.
Smith recorded an encounter he had with his Presbyterian mother. Based on a revelation he believed he had from God, he called his mother's faith a lie. "I then said to my mother," wrote Smith, "I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true" (1). Smith's statement was not that much different than my comments. He based his ideas on what he believed was a revelation from God (his personal vision). I base my thoughts on what I hold is a revelation of God (the Bible).
By the standards I'm judged by some Mormons, Joseph Smith was anti-Presbyterian. And based on previous verses in his recorded history, he was likely ant-Baptist and anti-Methodists too.
But I'm going to argue for Joseph Smith for a moment. (Trust me, this rarely happens.) Smith apparently was a man of deep conviction. He believed he heard God's Word (in the vision) and acted on his beliefs by pointing out what he thought was wrong about Presbyterianism and his mother's faith. It was important enough to him that he shared his convictions with others (by putting it into print and starting a new religion). Smith didn't keep convictions of this caliber to himself, and I would expect nothing less of biblical Christians today, including Presbyterians, Baptist, and Methodists.
If an LDS missionary encounters a Presbyterian, Baptist, or Methodist today, he or she doesn't hesitate to suggest that there's something wrong with these beliefs and that the LDS faith is superior. The missionary might not say there is something wrong with a person's faith, but suggesting a Presbyterian, Baptist, or Methodist should become a Mormon gets the job done. When the LDS missionary encourages that the person converts to the Mormon faith, he or she is drawing contrasts based on conviction (just as I am doing). This act should be seen as anti-Presbyterian, anti-Baptist, or anti-Methodists by the standards I face in Salt Lake City when I suggest the same to members of the LDS faith.
If what I am doing--as a life-long missionary of the Christian faith--is showing the problems with the Mormon faith and that a Mormon should follow the biblical Jesus, I am not much different than an LDS missionary. And if my convictions are shaped by the Bible, which I completely believe is a revelation of God, then I'm not much different than Joseph Smith. If these similarities are true, then either I am not acting in a way that Mormons should brand as "anti" or we should fairly brand Joseph Smith, LDS missionaries, and the entire LDS faith as anti-Presbyterian, anti-Baptist, and anti-Methodists. Or, maybe, we might want to relax with the victimization and be okay to discuss the similarities and differences of what we believe to seek God's Truth. Yes, I vote for that.
1. Joseph Smith -- History: Extracts from the History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet. Published by the Church of Jesus Christ Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1981, v. 20.